Even though a number of NFL teams are focused on their playoff hopes for this season, they are also keeping an eye on the 2021 draft.
The 2021 Senior Bowl is one of the marquee events that teams use to evaluate prospects. Now, we know the official list of players who will be participating in the Jan. 30 event, headlined by Florida quarterback and potential top-10 pick Kyle Trask.
2021 Senior Bowl Roster (h/t Chase Goodbread of NFL.com)
Quarterbacks: Kyle Trask, Florida; Ian Book, Notre Dame; Sam Ehlinger, Texas; Kellen Mond, Texas A&M; Jamie Newman, Wake Forest
Running Backs: Michael Carter, North Carolina; Khalil Herbert, Virginia Tech; Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana; Larry Rountree III, Missouri; Trey Sermon, Ohio State
Wide Receivers: Nico Collins, Michigan; D'Wayne Eskridge, Western Michigan; Frank Darby, Arizona State; Demetric Felton, UCLA; Trevon Grimes, Florida; Cade Johnson, South Dakota State; Racey McMath, LSU; Josh Palmer, Tennessee; Amari Rodgers, Clemson; Shi Smith, South Carolina; Marquez Stevenson, Houston; Kadarius Toney, Florida; Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State; Austin Watkins Jr., UAB
Tight Ends: Kylen Granson, SMU; Tre' McKitty, Georgia; Tony Poljan, Virginia; Kenny Yeboah, Mississippi
Offensive Tackles: Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa; Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame; Teven Jenkins, Oklahoma State; Thayer Munford, Ohio State; Dillon Radunz, North Dakota State; D'Ante Smith, East Carolina
Interior Offensive Linemen: Jack Anderson, Texas Tech; Deonte Brown, Alabama; Ben Cleveland, Georgia; Landon Dickerson, Alabama; Robert Hainsey, Notre Dame; Zion Johnson, Boston College; Michal Menet, Penn State; David Moore, Grambling State; Royce Newman, Mississippi; Trey Smith, Tennessee
EDGE: William Bradley-King, Baylor; Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame; Patrick Jones II, Pittsburgh; Malcolm Koonce, Buffalo; Jeremiah Moon, Florida; Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt; Quincy Roche, Miami; Shaka Toney, Penn State
Defensive Linemen: Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest; Jonathon Cooper, Ohio State; Ta'Quon Graham, Texas; Malik Herring, Georgia; Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina; Osa Odighizuwa, UCLA; Adetokunbo Ogundeji, Notre Dame; Levi Onwuzurike, Washington; Cameron Sample, Tulane; Elerson Smith, Northern Iowa; Payton Turner, Houston; Marvin Wilson, Florida State; Rashad Weaver, Pittsburgh
Linebackers: Tuf Borland, Ohio State; K.J. Britt, Auburn; Baron Browning, Ohio State; Riley Cole, South Alabama; Jabril Cox, LSU; Tony Fields II, West Virginia; Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Oregon State; Monty Rice, Georgia; Charles Snowden, Virginia; Grant Stuard, Houston
Cornerbacks: Tariq Castro-Fields, Penn State; DJ Daniel, Georgia; Thomas Graham Jr., Oregon; Bryan Mills, North Carolina Central; Elijah Molden, Washington; Aaron Robinson, UCF; Robert Rochell, Central Arkansas; Keith Taylor, Washington; Ambry Thomas, Michigan; Kary Vincent Jr., LSU; Mark Webb, Georgia; Rodarius Williams, Oklahoma State
Safeties: Joshuah Bledsoe, Missouri; Jaquan Brisker, Penn State; Shawn Davis, Florida; Divine Deablo, Virginia Tech; Tyree Gillespie, Missouri; Damar Hamlin, Pittsburgh; Richie Grant, UCF; Richard LeCounte III, Georgia; Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State; Christian Uphoff, Illinois State; James Wiggins, Cincinnati
Specialists: Riley Patterson, Memphis; Jose Borregales, Miami
Trask is the top attraction at the event thanks to his breakout year at Florida. The senior star leads the nation in passing yards (3,717) and touchdown passes (40). His 187.9 passer rating ranks sixth in the country.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller has Trask ranked as the No. 5 quarterback in the 2021 class, comparing him to Jared Goff of the Los Angeles Rams:
"Trask's best assets aren't always easy to see on television. He doesn't make splashy plays with his legs and he doesn't throw 50/50 balls with a YOLO mindset. He's just proficient and accurate and shows a quick processing ability that is too often overlooked in college quarterbacks.
"And outside of (Trevor) Lawrence, Trask's experience at Florida makes him the quarterback in this class most ready to play in the NFL."
Notre Dame star Ian Book is looking to use the Senior Bowl to boost his draft stock. He's been terrific over the past two seasons with 5,415 yards, 49 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 23 games.
Despite those numbers and playing for one of the nation's premiere programs as they fight for a spot in the College Football Playoff, Book tends to be seen as a day-three draft prospect.
Eric Edholm of Yahoo Sports noted that one NFL scout based in the midwest texted him that Book compares favorably to Jeff Garcia:
"Garcia was far from a roundly beloved prospect coming out of San Jose State in the early '90s—like Book, branded too small, too hectic, too not NFL. For that time, anyway. And it took him five years of success in the CFL and a visionary in Bill Walsh (who had returned to the 49ers' front office) to see Garcia's NFL potential."
Book is listed at 6'0" and 206 pounds on Notre Dame's official athletic website. This is an era in which smaller quarterbacks don't carry the same stigma that they once did, so there's certainly a chance the Notre Dame star could be drafted as a backup and potentially work his way up to being a starter.
On the defensive side, Wake Forest's Carlos Basham Jr. is picking up steam as a potential first-round talent. He has followed a breakout 2019 in which he was named to the All-ACC first team after recording 11 sacks with five sacks in eight games as a senior.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. has Basham ranked as the No. 3 defensive end in the 2021 class, behind Miami's Gregory Rousseau and Michigan's Kwity Paye.
Basham's 6'5" and 285-pound frame certainly fits what NFL teams are looking for from defensive ends.
With five weeks until the Senior Bowl and four months until the 2021 NFL draft, there are still a lot of things left to be sorted out for prospects and teams.
Many things are going to change between now and April 29, but this list of players provides a good starting point for anyone looking to watch the draft process play out.